Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I love my IPhone, but...

There are so many things from a design and features perspective that keep holding this device back (at least for me, anyway). Having owned, used, and supported numerous smart phones for the last 6 years, I can definitely see places where some improvements can be made.

Don't get me wrong--this is a good device. There are some fantastic concepts here, but even Apple needs a little help now and then.

1. I think the foremost feature missing from the IPhone is Adobe Flash. We live in a Web 2.0 world--a world depedent on interactive Flash applications. It's not like the device doesn't have the capability to run Flash--the IPhone 3GS is arguably one of the most powerful devices currently on the market. The reason is that Apple sees Flash as a competitor to its own QuickTime/h.264 technologies. Flash means that developers can bypass the App Store, which further would loosen Apple's stranglehold.

2. The next big hitter is the App Store. The App Store is one of the greatest innovations in the mobile device market--it's a place where the Microsoft Windows Mobile platform totally missed the boat. It's great to be able to go to one spot to find all of the software available for the platform. Of course, having that the *only* place from which to get content seems very restrictive and very un-internet-like.

3. Cut and paste. Yes, "Cut and Paste" now works--sort of. I can't believe the massive oversight here. Every smart platform before it had this type of "feature." I had Windows CE and Windows Mobile 2003 devices that could do this. Apple had the gall to herald it's coming to the IPhone like they'd revolutionized the market. Its implementation isn't that great (a triple-tap to select a paragraph or functionality in all Apps would be nice), so there's places where its intuitiveness could be improved.

4. Where is smart dialing? I'm spoiled as a Windows Mobile user here--the phone dialer on the IPhone is absolutely awful. Even non-smartphones have a better auto-filtering interface. Most phones filter the contact list automatically as you type in either letters or numbers. Not the IPhone. You either have to go to your contact list and search or go to the Search screen to hunt up a contact. Too many steps.

5. The ability to call someone directly from anywhere in an SMS message. It's great that I can copy the text of an SMS, but in order to initiate a phone call to someone with whom I'm texting, I need to scroll to the top of the window and press the "Call" button. Let me tap (or double-tap) the user's name anywhere in the SMS message and prompt me to call from there.

6. Select multiple messages for delete in Mail. So, I can search for messages; that's great. What if I want to mass delete all messages that meet a certain search criteria (such as a particular subject)? That would be nice. You can't even single-delete messages from a Mail search, much less select multiple messages.

7. Folder expand/collapse in Mail. As an Exchange ActiveSync user, I can see and retrieve content from any of my Outlook folders without having to individually select folders for synchronization. I dig it. But what I don't dig is the fully-expanded view of all my folders. I have about 150 folders in my Outlook tree. If I want to go to "Sent Items," it takes several swipes to get there--and then I usually have to swipe back up.

8. Speaking of Mail navigation, don't give me what appears to be a scroll/position bar on the right side of the screen when I'm scrolling through folders without the ability to click/drag it. That's just plain frustrating.

9. "Invisible" Bluetooth. While it does display a small icon next to the battery, it would be nice to see a low-power blinking LED to remind me that it's on, since a lot of my apps run full-screen and I lose the on-screen icon. All of my other phones had a little blue light that flashed whenever Bluetooth was activated. Throw a guy a bone, please, Apple.

10. Ability to password-prompt for app removal. I can't tell you how many Apps have been uninstalled inadvertently by my kids. You require a password to buy something from the App store; require one to remove the app as well.

Anyone else have features they'd like to see native to the IPhone?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Installing Data Protection Manager 2007 on a Dell NX3000

Dell has this great NAS device that runs Windows 2008 Storage Server Standard--the NX3000. The only problem is that Dell treats it like an "appliance," meaning you can't partition it the way you want. I recently ordered two with 6x1TB drives and wanted to deploy DPM to them. Unfortunately, Dell's RAID1/RAID5 combo doesn't make very good use of the available storage. I wanted to be able to use most of the space for DPM storage, so I needed to re-set it up from scratch.

Dell only provides "recovery" media (an image as opposed to install media), so you need to obtain the Windows 2008 Storage Server media on your own (such as from MSDN). Note: Dell's recovery media will not work if the disk configuration if the first two drives are not in a mirror set.

I spent two days figuring it out so you don't have to.

Once you have the media, here are the steps to get it set up completely:

1. Download all of the drivers from the Dell Support Site and save them to a USB stick.
2. Install from Windows Storage Server 2008 media. Be sure to select the edition (if installing from media with multiple editions) that matches the WSS key on the system chassis). Use the WSS key on the chassis for installation.
3. Install drivers from USB stick.
4. Log in to server with username administrator, password wSS2008!. This would be the only OS I've ever installed with a pre-configured administrator password.
5. Install Dell OpenManage software from Dell System Build DVD.
6. Restart.
7. Add Web Server role and add all role services (except FTP).
8. Open command prompt and run start /wait ocsetup.exe SIS-Limited /norestart.
9. Run Windows Update and install all available updates to bring current.
10. Restart.
11. From System Center Data Protection Manager DVD, navigate to SQL2005 installation directory.
12. Run Setup to install SQL 2005.
13. Select Database, Reporting Services, and Workstation/Client components. Ensure all sub-items are selected by clicking "Advanced" button and expanding each component.
14. Specify an instance name of MS$DPM2007$.
15. On the Service Account page, select the Customize for each service check box and configure as follows:
a. Select Customize for each service account.
b. In the Service box, select SQL Server.
c. Select Use the built-in System account, then select Local System account.
d. In the Service box, select SQL Server Agent.
e. Select Use the built-in System account, then select Local System account.
f. In the Service box, select Reporting Services.
g. Select Use the built-in System account, and then select the Network service account.
h. In the Service box, select SQL Browser.
i. Select Use the built-in System account, then select Local Service account.
16. Accept defaults for the rest of the SQL 2005 installation.
17. Open the Internet Services Manager (Windows 2008 version).
18. Expand Web Sites, expand Default Web Site, and then click the virtual directory for the report server.
19. Under Features View, double-click Handler Mappings.
20. Under Actions, click Edit Feature Permissions.
21. Click to select the Scripts check box, and then click OK.
22. Close Internet Services Manager.
23. Open Services applet.
24. Stop all SQL services.
25. Run SQL 2005 SP2 setup.
26. Restart.
27. Launch System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 setup.
28. Select the local database instance (MS$DPM2007$).
29. Enter a strong password for the DPM account.
30. Complete setup, accepting all defaults.
31. Restart.
32. Download and install DPM 2007 SP1.
33. Restart.
34. Download and install most recent hotfixes from
35. Call 1-888-571-2048 (if in USA) to activate WSS by phone (online activation will most likely not work in this instance; you will need to speak to a representative).

Good luck!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Long Way Home

Most bar Long Island Iced Teas are made with a mix of bottom-shelf liquors and sour mix. This one is not.

1/2 oz Tanqueray Gin
1/2 oz Cointreau Orange Liqueuer
1/2 oz 1800 Silver Tequila
1/2 oz Bacardi Superior Rum
1/2 oz Absolut Citron Vodka
1/2 oz filtered water
1 Lemon
3 tsp sugar
Coca-Cola, Royal Crown, or other cola with a sweet aftertaste

Fill a shaker with fresh cracked ice and add all alcohols, water, and sugar. Cut lemon in half; squeeze one half into the shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into ice-filled glass. Top with Coca-cola or RC until it is the color of traditional iced tea. Cut the remaining lemon half in half and garnish drink.